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Literature and the degrees in English Literature refer to the study of imaginative works. In the case of English Literature, it includes all such works created in English even though they may have been written by non-native English speaker. A degree in this area focuses on the analysis and production of English language texts. Typically, this type of degree is called an English Major.
There is a wide curriculum for an English Major. While there is some variance between universities in English Major requirements, most English departments put emphasis on three key areas: literature analysis, solid writing and historical analysis of other literary styles. The analysis process helps students strengthen their logic and reflective inquiry skills. Strong writing skills are useful in any field of endeavor. The study of other cultures and literary styles fosters a greater understanding and appreciation. All three of these areas form a solid foundation for critical thinking skills beyond academia. The ability to analyze, reflect, interpret and synthesize their interpretation in to a logical and convincing document is highly prized in various professions.
Typical English Majors will have university courses in some or all of the following areas:
- Writing and Composition—emphasizes academic and professional writing as well as creative writing.
- American Literature—explores various time periods, authors and literary schools.
- British Literature—highlights key literary movements and authors.
- Multicultural Literature—Explores a collection of cultural and multidisciplinary viewpoints.
- Rhetoric—Develops skills of developing a persuasive written argument and analyzing texts.
Some programs may also include special courses in grammar and perhaps drama and film studies. There will likely be some elective multidisciplinary topics that may include history, social science and foreign language.
Career options for English Majors include but are not limited to the following:
- Journalist and Public Relations
- Advertising copywriter
- Financial planner
Universities in English-speaking countries generally place the study of English literature in departments of English. The study of non-English language text and works occurs in different university departments including foreign language departments or a department of comparative literature. However, the study of English linguistics normally occurs in a department of linguistics. In non-English speaking countries, both English literature, linguistics and any other facet of English studies are likely to be grouped in the same university department.